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International Geneva  UN Geneva offices to start opening again 

UN building in Geneva

The Palais des Nations in Geneva has been deserted for weeks, with staff working from home because of the coronavirus. 

(Keystone)

United Nations staff can start returning in early June to their Geneva offices, which have been deserted because of the coronavirus.  

Provided the Swiss government goes ahead with the third phase of deconfinement, conferences can also take place from mid-June at the Palais des Nations but with formats different from before the crisis, UN Geneva Director-General Tatiana Valovaya told the press on Friday.   

+ Coronavirus: the situation in Switzerland  

She could not say, however, whether the UN Human Rights Council session scheduled for the end of June would take place. This was a decision for UN member states, she told journalists.  

Social distancing  

As well as those required on site, other staff will start returning on a voluntary basis, she said. The biggest challenge will be to ensure social distancing at the UN’s European headquarters. Lines have already been marked on the floors to help with this, and numbers of people within a room will be restricted. Only one person at a time will be allowed in the lifts.  

Valovaya expressed confidence that International Geneva would be more "efficient" and "more relevant than ever" after the crisis.  

Coronavirus has shown that it is “more important than ever” to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goalsexternal link, according to Valovaya. She said an online discussion was planned for the end of June on how the crisis has affected the labour market around the world. 

 

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